Installing a WordPress Theme

Last updated on October 18th, 2014 by Robert Abela. Filed under WordPress Security Tutorials

Once you have installed WordPress and chosen your desired WordPress theme, you are set to go. This easy to follow article explains in simple steps how to install the WordPress theme you have selected. If you still haven’t chosen a theme or would like more information on how to find such themes, check out the article Finding a WordPress Theme.

There are two ways you can follow to install a theme on WordPress: the automated way and the manual way. Either way, you do not need any technical expertise and it is up to you whichever you would like to choose. Here we will go through both methods step-by-step and provide screenshots for you to follow.

Installing a WordPress theme manually

  1. Download the zip file including the WordPress theme and extract it. Make sure to read the Readme.txt or Readme.html file if it contains one.
  2. Using an FTP client on your computer connect to the website where you would like to install the new WordPress theme. Navigate to the themes directory in the remote WordPress installation. The default themes directory can be found under ‘\wp-content\themes’. Upload the new theme directory from your local computer to the remote site. You can read How to upload files with FTP to WordPress to learn how to use FTP and transfer files.

FTP client used to upload files to a WordPress installation

  1. Login to the WordPress admin interface which would typically be http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. Navigate to ‘Appearance > Themes’ in the menu to the left. Select the theme you just uploaded and click on ‘Activate’ as highlighted in the below screenshot.

available themes in WordPress admin interface

Installing a WordPress Theme automatically from the WordPress Admin Portal

  1. Login to the WordPress admin interface which would typically be http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin. Navigate to ‘Appearance > Themes’ in the menu to the left. Select the theme you just uploaded and click on ‘Install Themes’.

installing a WordPress theme from WordPress admin interface

  1. If you do not have a WordPress theme of choice yet, you can search through the WordPress Free Themes Directory using the WordPress admin interface itself. If you have already stored a theme on your computer, click on ‘Upload’ which is highlighted in the above screen shot.
  2.  Click on ‘Choose File’ and navigate to where the WordPress theme is stored on your computer. The theme you have downloaded should be in a zip file and not extracted as highlighted in the below screenshot. If you have just downloaded the WordPress theme, you should find the zip file stored in your folder marked ‘Downloads’.

finding the WordPress Theme files on your computer

  1. Once you have found the WordPress theme file, click on the file to select it. A dialogue window will open and you have to click on the ‘Open’ button.  This closes the dialogue window and you then have to proceed on clicking on ‘Install Now’. This process should only take a couple of seconds.

successful WordPress theme automated install

  1. After successfully following steps 1 to 4, you will be advised once the theme is successfully installed as you can see in above screenshot. Click on ‘Preview’ or ‘Activate’ to preview the theme or activate the theme on your WordPress blog. Alternatively, if you would rather not activate this theme at this point in time, you can click on ‘Return to Themes page’. This will take you back to the themes page and you are able to browse through all the themes you have installed on your WordPress.

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